How To Create An RSS Feed for Your Blog

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a method of encoding frequently published and updated content in a way that allows it to continuously appear as a series of continuously updated headlines or headlines and short summaries through a type of XML file. Basically, XML files are either manually or dynamically edited so that changes to online content keep getting posted in the form of a feed.

Since RSS is really simple, offers a very easy to examine summary of new content and is easy to install, it’s also very popular with sites that frequently add to their content; pages such as blogs, news sites and any other sort of pages with constant or frequent additions of new headlines, articles, posts and information. In essence, an RSS filed is a great addition to your business website or a blog you might have attached to it.

Creating your own RSS feed is an excellent way to offer your base of blog or site readers an easy format through which they can subscribe to and follow your content, offers and new business updates without having to visit your page constantly and thus run you the risk of forgetting about your site. Best of all, creating your own RSS feed lets you keep your content constantly in the mind of your niche readers, especially if you know how to craft extremely eye catching or interesting titles.

Let’s explain how to set up your own basic RSS feed in just a few fairly simple and very useful steps.

Pick your Items and list them :

As a first step that doesn’t require any coding at all, you’re going to create a list of feed items that you’ll have ready in advance. First, visit the site you plan on integrating with your RSS feed and choose the articles, posts or feeds you want to syndicate.

Having done that, open a word file of some kind and create a list of titles, one for each topic from your pages, with the following format:

Title: (use the original post title from your page)

Description: (Keep it as brief as possible and to the essential point; no longer than a single brief sentence)

URL: (The specific URL of the post, article or site feed)

Have this list of titles ready for a later step.

Open a text editor and start creating your RSS file :

Pick any text editor you like, such as Microsoft notepad or Notepad ++, and start off your XML RSS file with the following

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>

<rss version=”2.0″>

<channel>

The first line in the code above specifies that this is an XML file you’re creating and stipulates that it’s encoded in the utf 8 format –this encoding snippet is mostly optional, but it’s a good idea to add it anyhow, even though virtually all encoding for a feed will be utf 8.

The second line in the above code stipulates the RSS version you’re using –the latest and currently used one being 2.0 in virtually all normal cases—and the channel line below that is going to stipulate your RSS channel name or category; pick a channel title that’s general but not too vague.

All your feed content is going to go between the RSS and channel tags; you’ll place another pair of them at the bottom of anything you input.

Add your RSS Feed Information :

Once you’ve done the above, you’re going to toss in your general feed information as follows:

<title>The title of my RSS 2.0 Feed</title>

<link>http://www.mysite.com/</link>

<description>describe your feed</description>

The above lines of code basically give out general information of your site’s RSS feed, the title of the specific feed, the link to your site’s home page and a description (very brief but interesting if possible) of what your site is about.

The outlying text of each line above –ie: <title> and </title> for the title line—should be written exactly as show above, with the little forward slash in the finishing tag being there as well.

You can also add additional lines to your site feed information tags and include things like:

Your site language: <language>en-us</language>

Your copyright info: <copyright> </copyright>

Or maybe your webmaster email: <webMaster>webmaster email goes here</webMaster>

Individual RSS Feeds :

Finally we arrive at your actual individual RSS feeds themselves. Remember all those titles I had told you to guard in a word file under the specific format described in step 1? Well, here is where you’re going to list them all off in your actual XML file and add the proper tags to make them compatible for encoding in RSS.

So, the text described in step 1 above:

Title: (use the original post title from your page)

Link: (The specific URL of the post, article or site feed)

Description: (Keep it as brief as possible and to the essential point; no longer than a single brief sentence)

Will now be encoded so that it looks like this:

<item>

<title>Entry Title</title>

<link>Link to the specific entry on your site/blog</link>

<pubDate>Fri, 8 Feb 2013 16:23:41 GMT</pubDate>

<description> this is a description of your individual post</description>

</item>

As you can see, we’ve also added an additional line for the publication date, and this publication date along with all others, should be in the GMT format, as stipulated here under section 5: http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc822.html.

Just as is the case with your general RSS feed description, you can add additional lines of tags for more information such as copyright etc, but the above is probably more than enough –why complicate your XML code?

Also, notice that the above specific post feed begins and ends with the <item> and </item>

Tags.  This is necessary and each individual item (or RSS integrated specific site post that you want to appear in your RSS feed) needs to be bracketed by the two <item> tags with the / in the closing tag; you can add as many individual items as you want, one after the next, all following the above format.

Close your Feed and Validate it :

Finally, when you’re done listing items for your RSS feed, you can close it off by adding

</channel>

</rss>

Just like you did when we began this whole page of XML code

Finally, once you’re done that, save your feed file as an XML document, upload it to the root file on your sites web server and validate it to make sure it’s okay by visiting http://feedvalidator.org/ and adding in your site URL.

Viola! Now you can submit your RSS feed to sites that are willing to accept it.

Additional Warning :

The above instructions cover the task of creating a static RSS feed that doesn’t change unless you manually modify it. Creating a dynamic feed that automatically changes as you post new content and posts to your sites or blogs requires additional coding that can be searched under “making your RSS feed Dynamic”.

Another, easier option is to simply use out-of-the-box  RSS plugins available for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or other CMS systems from which you might be running your site. For those of you webmasters who wish to do more advanced things on your site like virtual environments or interactive environments, please consult a professional.


About Prashant Saxena

A designer, developer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Social media player, SEO consultant and founder of Thetechideas.com. Follow him on twitter or you may also join him on .

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